In early 2020, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic reached the United States, affecting lives all across the nation. Communities in which Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) serves were hit by the crisis and families faced increased hardship due to school closures, shelter-in-place orders and job loss or wage reductions. However, MCH stepped in to meet the needs of its children, youth and families.
“Since 1890, Methodist Children’s Home has served thousands of children and families across Texas and New Mexico through numerous societal challenges and extreme circumstances,” said Trey Oakley, president/CEO of MCH. “It is by God’s grace and through years of generous support from our benefactors that we are able to meet real and urgent needs of the most vulnerable in our communities, especially during times of crisis.”
MCH staff members from the residential program are helping children feel safe and finding ways to keep them busy during shelter-in-place orders in Waco. Spiritual Development staff are utilizing technology to provide pastoral leadership and support. School staff rallied to prepare distance-learning lessons so educational workflow had limited disruption, and educators offered encouragement through a “teacher parade” through the Waco campus and MCH Boys Ranch. Direct care staff, home parents and foster parents are going above and beyond their usual duties, adjusting to serve as teachers as well as caregivers to the children.
MCH Family Outreach staff continue to serve families in the communities through online parenting sessions, safe outdoor home visits, porch drop-offs, connection baskets, educational packets, and virtual life lessons. Staff communicate and encourage each other through collaboration meetings and team check-ins.
“Our supporters would be proud and encouraged by the innovative and extra efforts our staff and foster parents are taking during these unprecedented times,” Oakley said. “Our mission does not change. Thanks to our supporters and caregivers, our children, youth and families still have a place of refuge and support at MCH.”
MCH created an online resource for staff members to keep them informed about the latest news, answer questions about benefits, and provide resources to help them during challenging times. The ministry also initiated the MCH COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to support the unexpected needs caused by the virus.
“I am mindful challenging days are still ahead,” Oakley said. “However I am not fearful because of the caliber of staff, foster parents and supporters we have at MCH, and the faithfulness of our God who has not wavered in the promise that great things will be done through this ministry.